Article #24


Crime Comics Banned in Canada!







What can you say about comic books in general?  In general, they’ve been through a lot of crap.  Censorship of the 1950s as they were blamed for spreading Communist dogma and corrupting the morals of America’s youth.  They’ve been ridiculed by adults and seen their market share in the world consciousness dwindle over the years, to the point where they’re only sold out of specialty shops.  They’ve become such a niche market that the Comics Code Authority, the self imposed censorship the industry created to survive beyond the 1950s witch-hunt, has pretty much become a joke.  Companies still display it on their covers (some of them anyway), but it seems to be a arbitrary choice.  Nowadays, the rule of thumb is survival – and survival seems to be equal to sleaze.  Not just in comics, of course, just surf through TV or the web.  Isn’t there anything  to stop this onslaught of immorality?  Well, there are actually laws (in Canada anyway) dealing with the corruption of morals and comics are rather conspicuously present.  Here it is, from the Federal Laws, section 163:





Corrupting morals


163. (1) Every one commits an offence who

(a) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, circulates, or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene written matter, picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever; or


Okay, just to intercede here, that’s pretty clear.  ANY OBSCENE MATTER.  What is obscene?   I have no idea, I’m not a lawyer.  To the average guy out there, ask them what obscene is, and you’ll get a different answer each time.  Some folks would say 90% of the stuff online is obscene.  A senior might say 90% of TV is obscene (recall when obscenity laced language was banned?  Remember when you couldn’t say Damn or Hell on TV?).  And what about your average superhero book?  The current Wonder Woman and Supergirl costumes allow may be considered obscene by a large chunk of our society.  Anyway, a debate on obscenities isn’t on our agenda, so let’s move on to part b…


(b) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, sells or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation a CRIME COMIC.


And no, I’m not making that up.  This is straight from the source, unedited (well, I did add capital letters to Crime Comic for effect, sorry).  Now that’s a whole lot clearer.  Essentially, all those crime comics from the 50s, those wonderful vintage collectibles, they’re banned north of the border!  I can recall a Canadian convention not too long ago that had a dealer who sold replica swords and other weapons, was shut down and taken away by the police.  I can understand that, as replica weapons would require some serious paperwork to cross the border at the very least.  Now, could you picture what would happen if the above law were strictly enforced in Canada?  Essentially, that entire convention and the entire comic industry could be halted in Canada.  Think about it, each issue essentially features a crime story.  Wasn’t Batman’s whole origin based on crime?  Heck, even most funny animal books had crime stories.  My guess is that the definition of crime comic, over the years, has been narrowed to comics that glorify acts of crime, but again, I’m not a lawyer.  For all I know, that latest issue of Batman could lead to jail time…


Or we could live through the 1950s all over again.  All it would take is one group with some clout and money to simply take the comics companies to court, and the scary part would be that they’d probably win as the law is already in effect! 


Something to think about until next time…